Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Common Miner (Geositta cunicularia)


French: Géositte mineuse German: Patagonienerdhacker Spanish: Minero común

Alauda cunicularia


, 1816,

environs of Río de la Plata and in pampas of Buenos Aires, Argentina


Closely related to G. tenuirostris (which see). G. punensis may be sister to present species#R. Voice and geographical variation poorly understood. Analysis of the limited number of available recordings indicates that Andean races may constitute a separate species from lowland nominate race; deserticolor (with georgei) may represent another; in particular, recordings from extreme S of range (nominate) suggest a population with a very different voice (a nasal rhythmic series of double notes given during aerial display), indicating either that nominate cunicularia differs vocally from all others or that recordings in question are the only ones of true song during display; breadth of vocabulary not fully understood, however, and recordings attributed to particular taxa may not be taxon-specific. Racial identity of population in W Argentina (Salta S possibly to Mendoza) uncertain, presumed hellmayri. Distribution of races in need of careful review. Nine subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. c. juninensis Taczanowski, 1884 – Andes of C Peru (Junín, Huancavelica).
  • G. c. titicacae J. T. Zimmer, 1935 – Andes of S Peru (Ayacucho to Puno), Bolivia (La Paz and Cochabamba to Potosí), N Chile (Tarapacá) and NW Argentina (Jujuy to Mendoza).
  • G. c. frobeni (R. A. Philippi [Krumwiede] & Landbeck, 1864) – Pacific slope of Andes in S Peru (Arequipa to Tacna).
  • G. c. georgei Koepcke, 1965 – coastal S Peru (S Ica, W Arequipa).
  • G. c. deserticolor Hellmayr, 1924 – coastal S Peru (S Arequipa) S to N Chile (N Atacama).
  • G. c. fissirostris (Kittlitz, 1835) – C Chile from coast to first slopes of Andes (S Atacama S to Llanquihué).
  • G. c. contrerasi Nores & Yzurieta, 1980 – WC Argentina (Sierras Grandes, in Córdoba).
  • G. c. hellmayri J. L. Peters, 1925 – Andes of C Chile (Malleco) and SW Argentina (C Neuquén to NW Chubut); presumably also this race in W Argentina (Salta and Tucumán S perhaps to Mendoza).
  • G. c. cunicularia (Vieillot, 1816) – lowlands from E Argentina (S from S Córdoba and S Corrientes), extreme SE Brazil (SE Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul), Uruguay and S Chile (S from Aisén) S to Tierra del Fuego.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–17 cm; 20–34 g. Medium-sized miner with medium-length bill, and conspicuous wing pattern. Nominate race has broad whitish supercilium, rest of face rather... read more


    Song a loud, shrill series of notes given in flight, "de-dirr-rr-rrr", nominate race more... read more


    Puna grassland, temperate grassland, and arid lowland scrub; sea-level to 5000 m. Found in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods and some seeds; recorded items are Diptera and Coleoptera, including larvae. Forages solitarily or in pairs. Food gleaned from... read more


    Breeds generally during austral spring-summer; eggs in Sept–Dec in Chile and Argentina; nestlings in Oct–Nov in Argentina;... read more


    Andean races evidently largely resident, with some downslope movement after breeding (titicacae... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant in variety of habitats with light to moderate anthropogenic disturbance, and found over a large geographical and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2020). Common Miner (Geositta cunicularia). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 21 January 2020).